isaac-mertz-1st-placeThe Third Annual Horticulture Research Retreat was held on November 18, 2016, in the ISU Memorial Union.  Keynote speakers at the Retreat were Dr. Penny Perkins-Veazie, Professor, North Carolina University, speaking on “Horticulture and Health:  The New Pot of Gold,” and Dr. Bruce Bugbee, Professor, Utah State University, addressing the challenge of growing crops where water and sunlight may be limited in the future.  Winners of the Graduate Student Oral and Poster Presentations are listed in order below:


Isaac Mertz (1st place):  “Evaluation of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) responses to fertilization with branched-chain amino acids”

Yang Liu (2nd place):  “CRISPR/Cas9 sgRNA-Medicated Mutagenesis of Branching Related Genes in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.)”

Zach Hudson (3rd place):  “Comparison of Fresh, Wax-based, and Resin-based Techniques for Sectioning Bark of Dirca L.”

Kristine Neu (4th place):  “Which pepper to pick?  A study of colored bell peppers”


John Krzton-Presson (1st place):  “Cover Crops and Strip Tillage Influence on Soil Health and Food Safety in a Midwest Muskmelon Production System”

Brandon Miller (2nd place):  “Root Pruning and Auxin Application Alter Root Development of Hickories”

Sharon Tusiime (3rd place):  “Current tomato seed management practices among in- and out-of-school youth in Kamuli, Uganda”

Undergraduate Student Poster Winner

Shana Hilgerson (GRS):  “Irrigation and Water Harvest at Primary Schools in Kamuli, Uganda”

Organizers of the event and judges included Chris Currey, Ajay Nair, Diana Cochran, Kathleen Delate, Ted MacDonald, Erin Hodgson (Entomology), Shui-zhang Fei, and Adam Thoms.